Development of a helicon double layer thruster. To cite this article: Jose Leonardo Ferreira et al J. Phys.: Conf. Ser. View the article online for. ESA's helicon double layer thruster. Image: LPTP, Ecole Polytechnique. A helicon thruster is a device that works in a similar way to a pulsed-plasma thruster but. Abstract. The performance of a Helicon Double Layer Thruster (HDLT) has been characterised using a pendulum type thrust stand and.


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Having helicon double layer thruster the principle, ESA is now proceed with simulations and perhaps bigger prototypes. Future developments Helicon-type thruster concepts are scalable to high power kW to MW operations, which means that they can potentially attain much higher thrust levels of the order of one newton helicon double layer thruster even higher specific impulses of the order of 10, s or morewith the additional advantage of requiring no high-current cathodeacceleration grids, or neutralizer that presently limit the operating lifetime in other electric thrusters.

Helicon double-layer thruster - Wikipedia

However, the scaling to high power is a challenging task since non-linear interactions between plasma flow and magnetic and electric fields at higher energies are difficult to predict and small-scale instabilities arising may cause a reduction in thrust efficiency. Research is now focussing on detailed simulation modelling and helicon double layer thruster programs to optimize thruster geometry, radio frequency system and applied magnetic field for high-energy plasma generation efficiency, confinement, and acceleration.


Despite the challenges to be overcome, in principle the potential for helicon-type thrusters operating at high power levels to produce a high continuous thrust and high, variable specific impulse compared to some other types of electric propulsion make them an attractive choice for propelling large spacecraft requiring high delta-V and acceptable transfer times.

These missions include human or cargo missions to Mars helicon double layer thruster and robotic missions with large science payloads to orbit planets in the outer solar system,4 or even to deflect near-Earth asteroids.

helicon double layer thruster

Fusion Science and Technology 43 Obviously higher ISP means lower thrust for the same power, but if you are awash in plenty of power from either advanced solar panels helicon double layer thruster being closer to the Sun, then you are limited by the specific power of your ion propulsion system.

For the Earth-Moon system, a newly developed spacecraft would be limited by the specific power of the engine as well helicon double layer thruster the power source.

Helicon Double Layer Thruster

Thrust is inversely proportional to ISP, and directly proportional to specific power. In operation, there is a sharp boundary between the high density plasma inside the source region, and the low density plasma in the exhaust, which is associated helicon double layer thruster a sharp change in electrical potential.

The plasma properties change rapidly across this boundary, which is known as a current-free electric double layer. The electrical potential is much higher inside the source region than in the exhaust, and this serves both to confine most of the electrons, and helicon double layer thruster accelerate the ions away from the source region.